04/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Roma 'Gypsies' Face Heightened Persecution In Italy

People forget, but the European history of segregation began in Venice. Ghetto is a Venetian word. It was, and still is, a neighbourhood, one of the oldest in town, thought to be named after the iron foundry that once stood there. In the year 1516 the Venetian senate ruled that the city's Jewish inhabitants should be confined to this neighbourhood. Non-Jewish citizens could not live there, nor could the Jews live elsewhere. The world's first ghetto had been instituted.

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